Happy (belated) 2nd birthday to my amazing, little boy! I can’t believe it’s been two years since Daddy first announced, “It’s a boy!” And, I still convinced I was having another girl and all euphoric with those happy-wow-my-body-just-brought-forth-another-little-human-being-into-the-world-my-how-I-rock endorphins, said, “Oh, she’s so beautiful!”
“Um, that’s not a girl,” Daddy promptly corrected me. Nope, you’re not. You’re a little tank who plows through life with an addictive fervor. How can we not be happy around you when you’re giggling and chasing and looking at us with those big, bright, brown eyes?
I remember that magical pocket of time in the aftermath of each of my births when my new baby is placed in my arms with vivid detail. With you, I recall thinking, “Well now, how I am going to take care of all that boy gear down there?” I also remember holding you, my cuddly boy, and how my heart melted for the first time with you nestled close to me. My heart has melted a million times since. Now it turns to pure mush whenever your eyes widen or when you lean in close and say, “Mmmmmm,” just before your kiss me. Just the other day I discovered a heap of toilet paper in the basement. You had unrolled the entire roll, but I couldn’t get mad. Daddy agrees. You’re just too darn cute, which is a good thing because you’re not only double the fun these days but double the trouble as well!
Only recently, you’re always saying, “Watch, Mama!” Oh, I’m watching. I watch you barrel through the house on those quick feet with that solid tank of a body. I’m watching you tease your big sister like only a little brother can do. (Watching you and Mary Elizabeth play house together or seeing you provoke her reminds me so much of how Uncle Josh and I were as kids, and I hope you remain as close as we are to this day. I count Uncle Josh as one of my closest friends.) I’m watching you pick up books and examine them intently. I’m watching your every move and making sure you don’t kill yourself. Oh, you have my heart, my little man.
Let me share a little about you and what you’re like right now. You love your blankie, which was a gift from your godparents. It’s made from bamboo and as soft as a cloud. It’s starting to fray on the edges because it is so well-loved. You’re nursing a lot less these days and when you do, you often get mischievous and pinch me. You, little imp, you. You like your growing collection of toy cars, and you’re fond of baby dolls, too. You’re going to make a wonderful husband and father someday because you and Mary Elizabeth play house all of the time. She’s breaking you in (I hear her calling you “dear” as I type this very minute.). Sometimes you like to sleep with baby doll or a Glowworm you received from your Great Uncle Rick and Aunt Gina. You have thing for shoes (um, I’m not sure where you get that from says the Mom who is currently wearing a pair of crocheted Toms the color of a lemon; it’s very practical to have lemon-colored shoes.). Uncle Josh and Aunt Megan bought you a pair of bright blue Nikes with fluorescent, highlight-yellow swooshes, and you love them. When you’re barefoot, you walk around with them in your dimply hands saying, “Shoes on! Shoes on!” When I slip them onto those delicious, fat (and quite odoriferous) feet of yours, you say, “‘Tank’ you, Mommy.” Such a gentleman already.
Here’s what you don’t like: Getting your diaper changed, especially if it’s a poopy. I swear, our diaper changing match-up would make the World Wrestling Federation look subdued.
You’re the quintessential little brother who makes it his mission in life to bug Mary Elizabeth (who’s 4 right now). She’s a good sport and puts up with your chasing, poking, and general provoking and my how you giggle when you play with her and all of your big sisters.
You love music and will sit at our beautiful piano and tap your pointer finger on individual keys to hear each note. When we play music – anything from modern pop to the Beatles or sing-songy kids’ songs – you bounce your head to the beat and start to groove. You constantly harass Daddy, asking him to play songs on his guitar or the piano.
You’re very verbal for this age – much more so than any of your sisters, I think, which is unusual for boys (or so I hear). The other day you banged on the bathroom door and shouted, “Let me in, Mommy!” I’ll never forget when we went in for a checkup around 15 or 18 months, and you weren’t quite walking yet (you started taking wobbly steps around 18 months and are my latest walker so far), and the pediatrician walked in and asked, “How are you, Thomas?” You replied, “Good!” During the same appointment you said words like “animal” and “helicopter” perfectly. Our pediatrician joked about how you probably weren’t walking yet because you were so busy talking.
You’re also very expressive. Your eyes get big when you’re having fun or up to trouble or just want my focused attention. You furrow your brows when you’re trying to figure out something. You’re such a big boy now. You’d rather not sit in your high chair anymore, although I still stuff you in there for a lot of meals to avoid messy mayhem or to keep you from tumbling off one of the high bar chairs we have in the kitchen (which you have unfortunately done several times).
You adore Layla, our big Lab/Great Dane mix. It’s sad that you might not remember her someday because she’s already around 6. You boss her around. “No, Layla!” you shout when her otter-like tail whips you in the face, or she tries to lick your nose.
You have a booming, Pankow [my maiden name for the blog readers who don’t know that] voice, gorgeous, dark, thick, and long eyelashes, fat, wide feet, and the best giggle in all of the world.
You’re quite the napper and still sometimes snooze for three hours during the day. You love for me to read books and prefer me to read the same books over and over. Lately we’ve been reading a book with a lot of songs and rhymes in, but some of your other recent favorites include: Goodnight Moon, Little Gorilla, I Love Dogs, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, (a recent birthday gift from your Great Aunt Pat), Little Quack, What’s Up, Duck?, and Go, Dog, Go!.
We hosted a family birthday party for you recently with a monster theme. You wore a shirt with a monster creeping out of the pocket, and you’d point at it and say, “Monster!” Your big sisters helped me decorate a round Snickerdoodle cake slathered in homemade cinnamon frosting (yum! recipes from The Cake Mix Doctor). We created a three-eyed, blue monster with a big, purple nose, and a red, Twizzler, happy smile. You thoroughly enjoyed eating your cake and ice cream and listening to the whole family sing “Happy Birthday” to you.
You’re such a joy, Thomas. You play hard and then you’ll cuddle close to me and ask me to sing to you or just say, “Mama,” or “Mommy.” And there goes that heart turning into mush thing again. You’re brimming with joie de vivre. You bang things and clatter around the house, spoons and hairbrushes smacking hard against the walls and furniture. You hurl balls (and other things, too). Gaba sees a future as a Cubs pitcher in you. You love to wrestle with Daddy. You’re a fireball of delight. I love watching you grow. Your animated face and those chocolate eyes demand I pay attention and remind that I’d better pause long enough to savor your littleness. Don’t grow up too quickly, my little man. I love you so very much. Happy, happy birthday!!! I know we have another exciting year ahead of us together!